Engaging the Word: 4/30/17 (The Third Sunday of Easter)

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By Barbara Klugh

Acts 2:14a, 36-41; Psalm 116:1-3, 10-17; 1 Peter 1:17-23; Luke 24:13-35. Go to www.lectionarypage.net to read or print the weekly lectionary text. We have great texts to continue our Easter celebration. Three thousand people are baptized, the psalmist praises God for his saving help, Peter urges disciples to live lives of purity and deep loving, and Jesus is made known in the breaking of the bread.

Baptism of the people by Andrea del Sarto c.1516. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Baptism of the people by Andrea del Sarto c.1516. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Acts 2:14a, 36-41: This week we continue with Peter’s sermon at Pentecost. Last week Peter talked about the Resurrection of Jesus and coming of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus’ disciples—that God raised Jesus from the dead “because it was impossible for him to be held in its power.” This proved that Jesus was not a false prophet as some of the Jewish leadership had claimed, but truly is the Messiah.

In this week’s reading, Peter concludes his Pentecost sermon. “Let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.” When the crowd heard that they were implicated in the death of Jesus, “they were cut to the heart,” and asked what they should do. Peter tells them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then their sins will be forgiven and they will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Three thousand were baptized that day and were added to God’s household.

Psalm 116:1-3, 10-17: In this wonderful song of thanksgiving, the psalmist comes to the house of the Lord to make a thank-offering for God’s gracious rescue from distress and anguish. God “has heard the voice of my supplication,” and saved him. The psalmist promises to fulfill his vows to the Lord in gratitude for his deliverance.

The Apostle Peter icon c. 1500. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Apostle Peter icon c. 1500. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

1 Peter 1:17-23: In this week’s reading, Peter continues to encourage the Christian “aliens and exiles” who are living in the Roman Empire and suffering for their faith.

Peter reminds them that they should live in reverent fear of God their Father instead of the Roman culture. They were ransomed by the precious blood of Christ—the Lamb of God—so they can trust that God will not abandon them. God raised Jesus “from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God.”

Then Peter exhorts his readers to live with pure souls and to “love one another deeply from the heart.” They, and we, have “been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.”

Supper at Emmaus by anonymous Italian painter, 17th century. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Supper at Emmaus by anonymous Italian painter, 17th century. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Luke 24:13-35: This week we have the much-loved story of Jesus’ Post-Resurrection appearance to two disciples on the road to Emmaus, which is reported only in Luke’s Gospel. Earlier in Luke’s Gospel, the women arrived at the tomb with spices to anoint Jesus’ body. “Two men in dazzling clothes” announce that Jesus has been risen. When the women report this astonishing news to the apostles, it “seemed to them like an idle tale, and they did not believe them.” Only Peter got up and ran to the tomb; “he saw the linen clothes by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.”

This week’s reading begins with two disciples walking the seven miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus three days after the crucifixion of Jesus. As they are talking, Jesus (who they don’t recognize) joins them and asks, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” The disciples more or less say, Are you kidding? Are you the only one who doesn’t know what has happened? And they tell about him about Jesus of Nazareth, “a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people” who was executed by the Roman authorities. They had hoped that Jesus was the Messiah who had been sent by God to redeem Israel and get rid of the Romans. And, they said, some women say that he is still alive. Jesus interrupts and says, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then Jesus takes them through the scriptures that referred to him and his mission.

When they get to Emmaus, they invite Jesus to stay with them, and he accepts.

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?”

The two disciples went to Jerusalem (I bet they ran!), found the apostles and told them what happened. They told the disciples “how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.”

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